If it was difficult before, it may be nearly impossible to ignore the efficacy of mindfulness in modern mental health treatment. An important element of meditation, the process trains a being’s awareness on each passing moment as it happens. By directing one’s attention to the intentions underlying various thoughts and feelings, the individual can begin to accept what happens in life and find deeper peace. Unfortunately, mindfulness is often lumped into the umbrella term of new age and alternative medicine due to the stereotypical image of meditation. In addition to the academic support of meditative practices, an increasing amount of research claims that the specific mechanisms involved with mindfulness have powerful impacts on the human mind’s recovery process.
In 2003, one study looked into the utility of a mindfulness-based, self-control strategy for a person with mental illness and other biological dysfunctions. The participant underwent six months of aggression-free behavior in an inpatient facility while learning meditation techniques that targeted his attention to triggering situations. By redirecting focus to neutral areas of his own body, results over time demonstrated gradually improved management of aggressive behaviors. This experiment established a strong case for using meditation techniques to treat psychological and other clinical challenges.
According to a 2014 study conducted at Lund University in Sweden, group mindfulness treatments were shown to be equally effective as evidence-based therapies (EBTs) for addressing the issues of depressive and anxiety-related disorders. Participants were randomly assigned to either receive structured group mindfulness sessions or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the leading and most supported treatments in the mental health field. A total of 215 people answered a questionnaire after their respective therapies and results showed no significant differences between the two camps.
In addition to these singular cases, scholars from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, were also curious to explore the untold potential of mindfulness and eventually collected data from 47 different clinical trials. Although the assorted studies did not find much evidence regarding the practice’s effect on certain behavioral deficits and general quality of life, a moderate level of beneficial evidence was shown in the treatment of anxiety, depression and physical pain. This line of research also took the potential for self-selection bias into consideration, where people who “believe” in mindfulness are the ones who seek it out and report its substantial effects. This allows the therapy to speak for itself and gives medical physicians and psychological professionals increased knowledge and accuracy when recommending modes of care.
Altogether, these different examples each attest to the powerful influences of mindfulness trainings and techniques. The brain’s natural ability to deflect and alleviate various ailments of itself and other parts of the body is unparalleled and unfortunately underestimated. Hopefully by spreading the results and findings of these various research endeavors, new waves of people will be enlightened and try mindfulness practices for themselves. It is also good to know that minding one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions is a relatively simple skill to learn.
At Sovereign Health of Arizona, mindfulness is only one of the many therapeutic and self-control treatments provided to those seeking refuge and recovery from abuse, trauma, addiction or mental disorders. If you, a family member or a friend suffer from any of these afflictions and want to explore the concept of mindfulness, please contact our admissions helpline online or call 866-598-5661.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer
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